Budget Deficit Faces Oakland City Council - Oakland Tribune

More at Inside Bay Area: “OAKLAND — City officials will be swimming in red ink once again when they return to business after the New Year.
Mayor Ron Dellums released a budget report this week projecting a general fund deficit of $50 million for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2009, and $58 million the year after that. The bleak projections are due to an economy in recession and expected increases in spending on children's programs and employee benefits and pension obligations, among other things, Dellums' report said.
The mayor will meet with the City Council on Jan. 12 to begin hammering out a spending plan for the two-year period beginning July 1 and to take stock of the city's fiscal picture over the next five years.
"Most public agencies nationwide, as well as private businesses large and small, local and global, face a daunting financial future," Dellums said in a statement. "The city of Oakland is no exception. The economic downturn that we face is unprecedented."
The projected $50 million deficit for the 2009-10 fiscal year represents more than 10 percent of Oakland's general fund, and Dellums recommended a number of possibilities for closing the gap, including asking voters for an increase in the local sales tax to pay for specific programs; negotiating with employees for concessions on retirement and medical benefits; and the possibility of more City Hall closures in years to come.”